HerStories- tales of revolutionary women

by _71A9959Rummana Ferdous Fagun

A woman is believed to have ambition, capabilities and talent just as a man does and it is also agreed that she should have the opportunities to develop her faculties and express them according to her own choice. The woman is now an important instrument of social change too.

However, women are considered to be the weaker gender all over the globe, not just in Bangladesh. Many young girls are perturbed about achieving their dreams and being neglected because of their gender and often worry if the society will accept them if they do something out of the box or in other words something that is not ‘appropriate for girls’. As the moderator of the launching ceremony, Seuty Sabur said, ‘Dreams are non-gendered, non-binary’.

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Girls lack idols they can look up to and often don’t realize that they too are capable of doing things they want to irrespective of their gender. Not everyone is aware of the legends the women of the past have left behind. This illustrated book is for the girls and boys of the next generation, to aspire and do great things just like the Supergirls of the book.

Begum Rokeya Shakhawat Hossain, the educationist in an age of negligence towards girls; Pritilata Waddedar, the revolutionary in a time of oppression; Dr. Zohra Begum Kazi, the exemplary physician at a time when going to healers and witchdoctors was the norm; Jahanara Imam, writer and political activist and the woman who spearheaded the movement for trial of the war criminals; Rawshan Jamil, a dancer who went against the flow, are only few of them only. This book compiles the life-story and struggles of twenty such firebrand Bengali women who have lived bravely and enlightened mankind. With Zareen Hosain as the founder of HerStories Foundation and Katerina Don as the curator of the book, HerStories came to life with the collaborative effort of over 30 researchers, illustrators and writer.

The book was unveiled by Asaduzzaman Nur and four Supergirls were present at the session on the second day of Dhaka Lit Fest. The four Supergirls were Nishat Mazumder (Everest Summiteer), Mabia Akhter (weightlifting champion), Nayma Haque and Tamanna-E-Lutfi (BAF combat jet pilots). Everyone had a unique dream and the path to reach the dream wasn’t smooth.

 

IMG_0161Nayma Haque wanted to fly since childhood and dreamed of becoming an air hostess one day. She didn’t know that girls can be pilots too. In 2014, when the Bangladesh Air Force decided to recruit women as combat pilots she grabbed the opportunity.

Tamanna-E-Lutfi’s father was a group captain of BAF and had been around pilots from her very childhood. She was inspired by their hard work and also imagined flying. It was a big decision for her family but at the end they supported her.

Nishat Majumder, the Everest Summiteer didn’t have it easy either. She tried climbing the Keokradong and when she succeeded she fell in love with the height and chased the sky even further by setting out to conquer the Everest.

Mabia Akhter is a gold medalist weight lifter, who won in the South-Asian Games, 2016. Education was not her strong suit but wanted to become successful through hard work. Her uncle encouraged her and she started training in weight lifting. With time she honed her skill and competed in the South-Asian Games after training for long five years.

All the Supergirls in the book did something exceptional in their lifetime and left a mark. Every day, every moment Supergirls from all over the world are birthing extraordinary tales, a book can only hold so many of them. These Supergirls are the torch bearers who led others out of the darkness of ignorance. Whenever a parent hands a book like this to their children, maybe just maybe, a tiny bit of that flame gets passed on as well.

 

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